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Mothers and Marigolds



Now and then, for no significant reason, thoughts of my mother interrupt a present moment; it happened yesterday while planting marigolds. Their fragrance is forceful, and their connection to her is solid.

In 1962, we moved into a new house in the woods. It was a developing neighborhood, but then, it was isolated and surrounded by raw nature… moss-laden oak trees, poison ivy, and snakes. That was of no matter to my mother, she soon turned over the rich virgin soil and planted marigold seeds in our front yard. The seeds grew and each year, for many years, she did the same. Yesterday, as I planted marigolds and disturbed their yellow and orange petals, that distinct fragrance was released and those moments from long ago came tumbling in with intensity. 


Now, nearly 28 years later, these ‘accidental’ memories of my mother are, thankfully, somewhat soothing, and always welcome. This morning, before sunrise and one day before the new moon, I stood on the back patio and listened carefully to the subtle sounds of the world waking, remembering that day after she passed. I remember thinking, for the first time in my life, I am beginning a new day, and she will not be here. It was a hollow feeling, one that caused deep pain. Who will put my world right side up for me, who will care as only she can care?


Nearly 3 decades later, I answer those two questions with simplicity, ‘I will’ and ‘No one’. Because of her, because of her example, I learned to straighten my ‘world’, I learned to answer the tough questions that were once reserved for her. Somehow her wisdom transferred to me, and her answers were now my answers. I say this with humility, for I had nothing to do with this transfer; it is a spiritual, and perhaps even physiological occurrence, she is still here with me. And the part about caring and a mother’s love, well that, I believe, is irreplaceable. And I have come to accept that as it should be, it is a good thing, for “Mother” and “irreplaceable” should be synonymous.


Anyway, I submit this random thought for no real reason other than to make mention of my mother and to remind you of yours…(and to include a subtle suggestion to plant marigolds in spring).

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